36th Annual Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival Announces 2013 Lineup


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Tony Bennett, Buddy Guy, David Sanborn & Bob James, McCoy Tyner Quartet with special guest John Scofield, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Kevin Eubanks, Gregory Porter and Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Gamak, among others

The 36th annual Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival, one of the most celebrated and longest running jazz events in the world, will be held on Saturday, June 29 and Sunday, June 30 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Following the successful celebration of the festival’s 35th anniversary in 2012, this year’s festival headliners include Tony Bennett, Buddy Guy, David Sanborn & Bob James, McCoy Tyner Quartet featuring special guest John Scofield, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Kevin Eubanks, Gregory Porter, and Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Gamak, among others. A special feature of this year’s festival will be a fireworks finale on Sunday in honor of the 100th Anniversary of Freihofer’s Baking Company, title sponsor of the event since 1998. Tickets for the festival are available online now for SPAC members; online sales to the public begin March 18.

Located in Saratoga Springs, New York at Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the festival was founded in 1978 by jazz impresario George Wein and has hosted a who’s who of jazz greats over the years including Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, B.B. King, Wayne Shorter and Ray Charles. With an inside seating capacity of 5,200, lawn seating of 20,000, world class jazz talent performing on two stages, and an idyllic State Park setting located just three hours driving time from either Boston or New York City, the festival draws thousands of fans from across the Northeast and throughout North America.

“As the encore to last year’s unforgettable 35th anniversary celebration, our 2013 festival will feature another dazzling lineup of legends and luminaries from across the jazz spectrum,” said Marcia J. White, SPAC’s President and Executive Director. “Headlining this year’s festival will be the one and only Tony Bennett, a superstar whose music and timeless appeal have cemented his status as an American icon. He tops a knockout lineup that includes blues legend Buddy Guy, breakout stars like Gregory Porter and Big Sam’s Funky Nation and modern masters David Sanborn & Bob James. It will be another ‘can’t miss’ weekend for jazz fans across the Northeast.”

“The 2013 festival lineup is my personal 'love letter' to our audience who packed, and rocked, the house during last year's 35th anniversary festival," said Danny Melnick, President of Absolutely Live Entertainment, which co-produces the festival with SPAC. “We are super-excited to be presenting another all-star line-up and some of the best new artists on the scene.”

In addition to festival headliners, Gazebo Stage programming will continue to feature an innovative mix of established and emerging artists in jazz. The lineup includes: Gary Smulyan Quartet; Carmen Souza; Ben Williams & Sound Effect; Gilad Hekselman Trio; Chris Bergson Band, Donny McCaslin Group, Ingrid Jensen Band, and also introducing Brianna Thomas, all of whom are making their festival debut. The stage will also feature returning saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa with his new band, Gamak.

While two-days and two-stages of live, world class jazz is the centerpiece of the weekend, fans can also enjoy a host of amenities including a fine arts and crafts fair, CD signings by artists, a full-service bar in the Hall of Springs, southern style barbeque and other food vendors. Guests are welcome to bring in their own food and beverages, as well as blankets, tents and lawn umbrellas. Parking for the event is free.

Adding to the celebratory spirit of the weekend will be special festivities surrounding the 100th Anniversary of Freihofer’s Baking Company, the title sponsor of the festival since 1998. Freihofer’s generous sponsorship has enabled SPAC to consistently present the greatest jazz artists and ensembles in the world. In recognition of the milestone, the company will have an expanded presence at this year’s festival that will include a fireworks finale on Sunday evening and giveaways of its famous chocolate chip cookies throughout the two days.

Stella Artois returns to the festival this year and is the lead sponsor of the lawn experience (“the hang”). The upscale Belgian beer company is no stranger to sponsoring high-profile arts and cultural events; they’ve been notably involved with the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Singapore Jazz Festival, and the Sundance Film Festival.

“Our festival offers an atmosphere that is as spectacular as the music. Our lush lawn, framed by majestic pines of the Spa State Park, is the perfect place to stretch out, relax and take in the music. Gourmet picnics and lively conversations create a welcoming atmosphere and children dance between rows of colorful blankets,” says White. “Once people discover this festival, they return season after season. It becomes a destination they look forward to all year long.”

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